The Alaska Bore Tide

What, When, Where, Why & Who?

girdwood-alaska-bore-tide-wave-surfingSurfers on the bore tide wave near viewing turnout @ Milepost 94.1 Photo by Bacon & Cheese Productions

What is the Bore Tide?

The Turnagain Arm bore tide is basically a wave formed when a super low tide and a super high tide crash into each other in the narrow and shallow Turnagain Arm.

The wave can come twice a day and is often surfed by local riders, who are sometimes able to surf a very long time on 5-10 foot faces.

It occurs 2-3 hours after the low tide time in Anchorage, Alaska. It is total luck (and anyone is so lucky!) on any given day to see the bore tide, as shifting, silty mud, icebergs and rivers of Turnagain Arm make for an ever-changing and unpredictable creature.

Usually, a minus low tide and a high tide about 27 feet are required to make a wave big enough to surf.

When can I see the Bore Tide?


Click here to view the complete 2022/2023 Girdwood Bore Tide Schedule

Where can I see the Bore Tide?

Bore Tide is best viewed on the Seward Highway at the 4th or 5th turnout towards Anchorage. However, it can be viewed at all 5 turnouts with about an hour difference from the 5th to the 1st spot. Click on the map below to go to a Google Map page with directions and more detail.




Why does the Bore Tide happen?

Turnagain Arm’s tidal bore, also known as “The Bore Tide Wave”, is a breaking wave that rushes in twice daily at speeds of 6 to 24 mph. Stretching across the entire Turnagain Arm, the wave can vary between 6 inches and six feet in height.


According to the “Bore Tide” poster at Bird Point Rest stop. Installed and produced The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation


Looking For More Information?

Check out the following web pages and stories because they do a great job of explaining all the details of the bore tide and why it happens:

Who surfs the bore tide?

The bore tide wave is surfed in the summer months by experienced knowledgeable locals. Stand-up paddleboarders, surfers, kiteboarders, and river kayakers all enjoy getting their piece of the daily bore tide wave! This wave is not for beginners or those lacking knowledge of the local tides. Check out these fun bore tide surfing videos:


Paddleboard Surfer approaching a small-bore wave, nearΒ  viewing turnout @ Milepost 91.4Β Β